RV Travel – What You Need To Know About Mail Forwarding, Banking, and Credit Cards
Even if you are full-time RV camping you’ll need to get your mail delivered somewhere. The first option many of us RVers consider is having a trusted relative collect and forward our mail. It seems such a simple thing, throw the mail in a pile and send it to the RV park when I call. Truth is, fellow full-time RVer, you are imposing quite a burden on your friend, or relative, and they probably aren’t going to handle your mail as efficiently as a professional mail forwarding service designed for RV campers.
We used an RV mail forwarding service in Florida for many years with great satisfaction. There are many services out there that will handle your mail in a professional, economical, and efficient manner. Usually, most RVers will have their forwarding service accumulate their mail until they are ready to receive it, then they call their service and have it all sent in one package.
The mail forwarding process is quite simple. Most RV parks allow you to receive mail at their office and for those that do not, just have your mail sent to you, general delivery, at the nearest post office. We have never had a problem getting mail this way.
If you’re moving frequently, you can find out in advance what the RV park, or local post office address is, and have your forwarding service send all your mail in one package by priority mail to arrive about the same time you do. If you are having it sent to an RV park, just be sure to let them know ahead of time that you will be arriving as will your mail, otherwise they may reject the parcel if it’s not for one of their customers. The local US Post office will be quite upset to receive a general delivery mail parcel when they haven’t received prior notification of arrival. If you intend to have mail sent general delivery call the local post office and let them know ahead of time, otherwise they may return your mail to whoever sent the mail to you.
If you are staying in one place for a few weeks, or months, you can usually schedule your mail to come on a regular schedule, or just call your forwarding service and tell them to send your mail when you’re ready.
The costs are going to vary depending on the level of services you require. We have always only used the most basic services, but if you’re running a full-scale business on the road, you may have the need for more advanced services.
Here are some mail suggestions to consider before you hit the road for good:
Sign up for the mail forwarding service you are most comfortable with.
Cancel most, if not all, magazine subscriptions, book clubs, music clubs, and any other subscription service that ships bulky products. These items are expensive to have forwarded. Most magazine subscription lists are sold on a regular basis, thus generating lots of junk mail for you.
Go to the Direct Marketing Association website online at www.dmaconsumers.org and register your new and old mailing addresses for removal from mailing lists.
If you have a cell telephone, go to this Federal Trade Commission website www.ftc.gov/donotcall/ and register your number. This should reduce the number of junk calls you may get.
To get off the mailing lists for credit card offers of companies buying your information from the major credit reporting agencies, and junk mail generated by your state’s motor vehicle department distribution of your mailing address, go to the Federal Trade Commission website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email and follow the instructions they provide.
Alicia at the Petrified National Forest in Arizona
Call your credit card company and give them your new mail forwarding address. Ask them to put you on a no-solicitation list to eliminate all those pesky credit card offerings from your own credit card company. Keep in mind that you are going to have to pay to have your mail delivered to you. If it consists of advertising, you have to pay for junk mail to be delivered to you. Now that’s adding injury to insult.
If you have a cell phone, get them to charge the billing to your credit card or as a draft on your checking account. That way you will not have your service canceled because your payment was late in arriving. Same thing for any other recurring billings such as insurance, if the company will let you. Just don’t forget to record the bank account drafts. If you have access to online banking, you may be able to utilize a free bill-paying service that automatically pays your bills at a predetermined time. Should you not have this service available, simply try and have recurring billings charged to your credit card.
You are going to want to maintain checking and savings accounts. If you don’t already have an ATM or bank debit card, now is the time to get one. Give your bank your new mail forwarding address and find out what their policies are for receiving deposits from you through remote ATM machines (deposits through an ATM are usually limited to the ATMs’ in your state), or through the mail.
Our experience with online banking has been great. Simply log onto your bank from your Internet connection, view or download your transactions, make transfers and manage your account from wherever you may be. Technology is great.
Elk at a mineral deposit in Yellowstone National Park
If you are going to be working for an extended period of time in one location, you may be able to get direct deposit for your payroll check. We have mailed deposits to our bank for years without any problem.
If you have any final utility billings, such as telephone, electricity, or water, contact them and give them your new mail forwarding address. Ditto for auto, life, health, and other services. Also, if you live in a state where the local county assesses property taxes, give them your new address.
Contact any relatives or friends and give them your new address. Don’t forget to have your employer to send your W-2 to your new address. Give all your investment accounts your new address. Then, for the final junk mail killer…
Hit the road without leaving a forwarding address with the post office. Yes, you heard me correctly. All that garbage mail will either be trashed or returned to sender with no place for it to go. Otherwise, your junk mail may follow you for years and you will have to pay for every ounce that is delivered to you, and those ounces add up very quickly and will be very expensive. If you have done your work properly, you will get all of your important mail economically and stop the junk from following you while you are traveling.
Next Chapter – What about Taxes, Insurance, and licenses?
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